Let's upgrade the minimal requirements of an ID request to add a list of at least 3 wrong titles and 1 search query. Without this list, the post would be closed for not showing enough effort on the poster's part.


  1. Explain how users can search on their own, solving and preventing ID questions from being asked;
  2. Improve the quality of IDs that have been asked;
  3. Create more clear-cut rules for closing bad IDs. This will also reduce zombie ID count because of automatic deletion after 30 days.

I think we're having a problem where the [closed] notification doesn't explain how to fix a bad ID in a concrete, short and easily understandable way. It looks more like a bunch of guidelines (that's what it's actually called in the close plaque, btw), tips and tricks and general recommendations. And the reviewers basically have to use common sense to arbitrarily evaluate an ID's quality. That does not sound like good rules to me.

Instead of what we have now, I suggest we make my proposed rules the first thing we show to the users whose ID got closed, and then, as an addition, the guidelines as a self-help message.

How it works

The list of course can't be just Naruto, Bleach and Evangelion. It has to be relevant to the search query and the post's body.

Example: Anime about police who kill people who haven't done anything bad yet

I'm looking for this anime where police aims their pistols at people and the pistol tells them if it will kill the target or just neutralize. Sometimes the pistol doesn't shoot at all.

I have looked for "anime pistol police" and found out that it's not:

  • Patlabor
  • Dominion tank police
  • A. D. Police
  • Hellsing
  • Psycho-Pass− and the ID never got posted

These days ID requests are so lazy that you can find the answer by googling a few of the keywords in the question. What does that say about the poster? That they most likely didn't try googling. That is too lazy and should not be allowed.

If you see a list of wrong titles in an ID request, it becomes obvious that OP has made at least some effort. Of course if they meet just the minimum requirement, it makes them look bad, but still better than no effort at all.

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  • in addition or instead of, our current rules? – Toshinou Kyouko Feb 19 '16 at 9:55
  • I think this is very simple to do and should be set as absolute minimum requirement. Other rules are more like guidelines, and don't provide this level of quality control. – Hakase Feb 19 '16 at 9:56
  • Sounds like a reasonable proposal to me. – JNat Feb 19 '16 at 12:15

This is more of a question than a yes/no:

At least 3 wrong titles and 1 search query.

How will this deal with low users with really dumb questions like

It's an anime about super powers

It's not Dragonball, One Piece, Naruto

I tried Google "anime super power"

or even worse:

An anime about girls having fun

  • it's not naruto, pokemon, digimon
  • I searched "girl anime" no results

Users never cease to surprise me with the ability to ask questions of impossibly low quality

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  • Then list a few titles that look similar to the searched one and describe how they are similar – Hakase Feb 20 '16 at 13:16
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    what if the user doesn't know any similar series? – Toshinou Kyouko Feb 20 '16 at 15:20
  • Through their search they will find a variety of images, and their task would be to list the ones that resemble something from what they are looking for the most. Like at least similar art or scenery shots. Maybe characters whose designs remind of the searched work. If they can't find at least that, then it means they don't even remember enough to ask a proper question. – Hakase Feb 20 '16 at 15:36
  • In case somebody tries to be smart with the bare minimum, I would still close their question until it doesn't look like a riddle. Maybe link some exemplary IDs to show what we want to see. But really, if it looks like your example, it should be closed instantly as "are you kidding me". – Hakase Feb 20 '16 at 15:47
  • I don't think we can do anything to stop cases like this. Some people are just determined to suck, and as long as we allow id requests we can't stop it. The main value I see in this policy is that it gives concrete, somewhat more objective criteria for when to close an id request, criteria that can be applied to all id questions and don't depend at all on the asker's memory. – Torisuda Feb 23 '16 at 6:52

When I first read the post, I was opposed to this, but as I thought about it more, it started to make sense to me. I still think banning id requests is the best way to go. I've never actually seen a "good" id request. The "best" ones are minimally acceptable questions. I can only imagine we still have them around out of a spirit of charity and goodwill, since almost no one thinks they're good questions and the numbers show they don't generally attract people who contribute positively to the site. But if everyone insists on keeping them, I think this is a good addition to our policy.

Here's what I like about this policy: the onus is on the questioner. All reviewers have to do is leave a comment with a link to the requirements, and vote to close. The questioner has to go out and do the work of searching Google and finding three shows that aren't the one they're looking for. This is in contrast to our former policy on image id requests, where reviewers had to prove that the question wasn't easily solvable by reverse image search. That policy was complex and made more work for reviewers because they had to go out and try to find the stupid picture, fail, then come back and fight with close voters to keep the question open. With this policy, reviewers can immediately see that a question fails the requirements, and they can vote to close.

I also like that this policy is very concrete in its requirements. It has obvious, actionable steps. Our other id request guidelines are vague, and it's too easy for people to go "Oh well, that's all I remember" and decide to ignore them because hey, you don't remember what you don't remember. There's no excuse for not doing a Google search on some of the keywords from your question, other than ignorance, which we will remedy.

Here's a problem I see with this policy: there are people on the site who don't care how bad the id requests are, they're still going to answer them. We've seen this with our cleanup of image-only id requests, and I've also seen it going on with regular id requests. It's going to totally undermine us if we have a policy of closing any id request that doesn't have a Google search with three failures, but half the questions that don't have those things get answers anyway because someone who doesn't know the policy or doesn't care sneaks in under the radar and answers it. Bans are useless against hit-and-run questioners, and we know most id requesters are hit-and-run.

Here's another problem I see with this policy: people are lazy, and a shocking number of them suck at using Google. So we're still going to be opening ourselves up to stuff like this:

hai im looking for htis asdjime where peepz ahd liek special powurz and stuffs...i did a google srecha for "anime liek speciall powerza1 and it sed one piece nruto fma but none of this is it cn u help ?? btw ther wher these drgon ballz in the sohw dunno if tht helpz?

Then we have to argue about whether the question deserves to remain open because they did, despite their total ineptitude, have a Google search with three shows in it. While we're arguing, someone else is going to show up and say "It's Dragon Ball Z" and the question will get answered anyway (see problem 1). Then people will keep coming and posting their lazy id requests with awful Google searches that turn up three obvious failures, because they've seen that other people get answers doing it.

However, overall, I have to say this is an improvement over the current situation. It has some hope of raising question quality, and it at least makes things easier on reviewers trying to decide if a question should remain open.

[1]: I actually did do a Google search on "anime liek speciall powerza", and Google knew what I meant. Google is amazing.

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  • 1
    Answers are not the problem at all in the big picture of our ID service. I'm not a fan of disallowing answers to bad IDs, but the [closed] notification is undeniably the best tool to make posters improve their ID. I think it's completely okay if somebody posts an answer or a comment even if the ID itself is bad. After all, this is a goodwill thing. But if the question doesn't get fixed and it's something trivial like DBZ, it usually gets deleted anyway. – Hakase Feb 20 '16 at 7:51
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    with your example question i'd be more than happy to close it as unclear what is being asked because that is very hard to read – Memor-X Feb 20 '16 at 12:27
  • @Hakase The problem is that if questions that don't follow our guidelines still get answers, our guidelines become meaningless. Suppose I show up and ask a lazy id request without a Google search. Some users comment and tell me I need a Google search. Then someone else answers my question. I've got my answer; I'm not going to bother improving my question. At this point I don't care if it gets closed. Other people come along, see my closed, answered question, and ask their own, figuring they'll get answers before it gets closed too. The site still ends up full of low-quality id requests. – Torisuda Feb 20 '16 at 18:13
  • (cont'd) If the point of this policy is just to help get id requests answered, then I guess the situation I described is not a problem. If the point is to hold down their overwhelming awfulness, then it is. Granted, it's not just a problem with this specific policy, but with anything we do to try and improve the quality of id requests. – Torisuda Feb 20 '16 at 18:17
  • @Memor-X Sure, my example question was an exaggeration. But suppose someone had come along and edited to make it easier to read. It's still a bad question because the Google search they did was completely inept. But I foresee a certain number of users saying "Well, it obeys the guidelines, so it should stay open", which also happened with image-only id requests. The site still ends up full of low-quality id requests. – Torisuda Feb 20 '16 at 18:24
  • However, I still support the policy because it seems reasonable and pretty low-effort for reviewers. I was just pointing out some problems I expect to see when we implement it. – Torisuda Feb 20 '16 at 18:47
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    In my opinion, ID requests below certain score (probably <0) that don't seem to have enough quality should be deleted after a week. – Hakase Feb 21 '16 at 1:10
  • @Hakase That would certainly help with the problems I brought up, and seems reasonable given how bad id requests have gotten lately. – Torisuda Feb 21 '16 at 1:54
  • I just looked up how automatic deletion works, turns out bad posts usually get deleted in 9 or 30 days, so there may be no need for forcing manual deletion. Unless it's really bad, then it will probably get manually deleted without having to draw additional attention. – Hakase Feb 21 '16 at 3:58

It looks like a great idea as it will improve the quality of the ID-request which is a great debate. What's more, the thing about SE is showing that you actually took the time of searching, thinking. A question in SE should not be something that people "throw on our face" by thinking "we will do the work for them". Therefore, forcing to show a minimal effort of research sounds great to my ears.

As an example (even though we obviously can't compare them as the goal is not the same), Stack Overflow always ask for one who asked a question to prove that the question has research background. I think bringing this spirit in could be a clear improvement.

Closing the question as "contains too little details to be answered " sounds logic as the author provides too few elements showing actual interest and research work in the question.

Better questions are better.

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